Festival Overview: Sappyfest 2012 - August 3rd 5th 2012

Astral Gunk - Sappyfest 2012 - 04

This year we opted for the comforts of a tiny dorm room, and it was probably a wise decision. The summer heat was in full force as the tiny town of Sackville once again transformed the “indie hipster haven” revolving around 3 days of non stop fantastic music. With the party already in full swing when we arrived Friday night, we caught the tail end of Canalilles before transitioning into the heavy fuzz rock jams of Toronto's Metz.

METZ  - Sappyfest 2012 - 04
The headliner of the night seemed to have everyone whispering and wondering exactly what they were about to see. As eyes rested on the band members and their many instruments on stage, a garbage bag dragon suddenly wound it's way through the crowd and into the spotlight, and Yamantaka//Sonic Titan's opening drones grew in volume. With percussion galore, spooky guitars and synths, backed up eerie and powerful vocals that seemed to transfix the crowd.

The night still wasn't over, so after a stop at the conveniently located fish and chip truck, it was off to the legion for cheap drinks and more bands. Yellow Teeth started the show off with a bang, literally, knocking out power to the stage shortly after opening. After getting back underway, ripping guitar and tight drumming quickly surged the crowd into a massive mosh pit of first day excited energy. Halifax's Duzheknew brought the crowd back into focus with warped, cerebral jams and anti-rock freak outs.

Yamantaka//Sonic Titan  - Sappyfest 2012 - 04
Canailles - Sappyfest 2012 - 03 Canailles - Sappyfest 2012 - 01 Canailles - Sappyfest 2012 - 02

After a respectable sleep in aforementioned dorm rooms, we faced the heat of the day with the soothing punk-inspired grooves of Katie & the Lichen, before wandering into a backyard, really, with a BBQ and summer fun bands rocking out on the grass. Wet Demin pleased a mostly sit down crowd, huddled for shade underneath trees and fences, and the appropriately named Eternal Summers slowly eased the crowd closer, with their fuzzy pop jams. Cold Warps returned again and brought the crowd up to their feet full force, even swaying a few audience members to break out in dance despite the still beating sun.

Cold Warps - Sappyfest 2012 - 01 Cold Warps - Sappyfest 2012 - 06
Wet Denim   - Sappyfest 2012 - 03 Wet Denim   - Sappyfest 2012 - 01 Wet Denim   - Sappyfest 2012 - 04
Eternal Summers  - Sappyfest 2012 - 03 Eternal Summers  - Sappyfest 2012 - 04 Eternal Summers  - Sappyfest 2012 - 05

After a well deserved supper break it was back to the main tent, with sparkling spectacles Tomboyfriend helping pack in the crowd for a long night of wildly varied entertainment. The Blow proved a minor let down in an otherwise mesmerizing lineup, with a few hip dance moves but little else. Fortunately, New York's Oneida saved the day with the best and least expected set of the weekend, and hopefully blew a few minds with their wild, space rock inspired instrumental jams and absolute non stop drummer – he literally didn't seem to stop playing the whole set, and you could feel the energy coming off the band.

Tomboyfriend - Sappyfest 2012 - 01 Tomboyfriend - Sappyfest 2012 - 03 The Blow - Sappyfest 2012 - 01
Trash Can Toilet Jams - Sappyfest 2012 - 03 Trash Can Toilet Jams - Sappyfest 2012 - 02 Trash Can Toilet Jams - Sappyfest 2012 - 01
Oneida  - Sappyfest 2012 - 03

Finally Saturday night headliners Fucked Up took the stage to a now crowded tent and proceeded to tear apart the egos and expectations of the sappy crowd, with front man Damien Abraham popping bouncing beach balls and climbing stage rigging with reckless abandon. Once again Sappy refuses to leave a crowd hanging and the music continues all over town, and we once again find ourselves at the legion for the fantastic local psych-punk tunes of Astral Gunk. Bad Vibrations continue the vibe and the crowd, showing no signs of weariness from two straight days of music,continue their show their appreciation for the non stop flow of fantastic music.

Fucked Up - Sappyfest 2012 - 06 Fucked Up - Sappyfest 2012 - 05

Sunday finally arrives and once again wastes no time in baking festival goers in the loving rays of the scorching sun. Various gentle acts spring up all around town to ease hangovers and sunburns with syrupy cool pop, rock, and country jams, with Nick Ferrio and his Feelings inviting the crowd to sing along while gathering under the shade of a soaring oak tree in the local park. Ice cream stands do brisk business and any restaurant with an air conditioner is guaranteed customers.

Nick Ferrio & His Feelings - Sappyfest 2012 - 01
Sappyfest 2012 - 15 Sappyfest 2012 - 14 Sappyfest 2012 - 09
Sappyfest 2012 - 10 Sappyfest 2012 - 13 Sappyfest 2012 - 16

Sappyfest 2012 - 08With high in demand (and temperature) venues like the MTA Chapel quickly packed to capacity, the tent becomes the best refuge for shade and more cool tunes. Halifax's Cousins kick off the evening with Aaron Mangle's seemingly impossible vocals running the gamut from eerie whisper to raging shout while staying perfectly on key. Bruce Peninsula continue the vocal love, oohing and aahing through a set of heartfelt indie rock. Deloro show fine polish but don't quite pack the same punch, especially after 3 days of mid tempo acoustic guitar backed rock songs. In back alleys, dumpsters and toilets become PA systems and venues as music spontaneously erupts all around us. 

With Timber Timbre taking the stage in trademark near-total darkness, the minimalist guitar/vocal/kick drum songs seem to take on a closer feeling, with sliding violins and guitar adding extra atmosphere to the poetic story songs. Headliners Thee Silver Mount Zion take the stage after careful setup and precarious amp-on-stepladder balancing acts. With the stripped down but still haunting orchestral make up now backing jarring and up front vocals, the band still showedcased their well publicized political ideals but managed to woo the audience none the less with rising crescendos and tense build ups.

Cousins - Sappyfest 2012 - 06
Cousins - Sappyfest 2012 - 05 Cousins - Sappyfest 2012 - 0 Cousins - Sappyfest 2012 - 04
The Mouthbreathers  - Sappyfest 2012 - 01 Deloro - Sappyfest 2012 - 01 Deloro - Sappyfest 2012 - 04
Thee Silver Mount Zion - Sappyfest 2012 - 02
Thee Silver Mount Zion - Sappyfest 2012 - 04 Thee Silver Mount Zion - Sappyfest 2012 - 03 Thee Silver Mount Zion - Sappyfest 2012 - 01

Exhausted and sun burnt, we force ourselves to skip the final evenings closing sets bar sets and pile back into the car in the hopes of sleeping in our own beds back in Halifax. Tired but satisfied, Sappyfest has once again overwhelmed our ears and brains with 3 non stop days of glorious music. For most, the town returns to it's nowhere state, remaining only in our memories until next year.

Written by Dan Nightingale
Photos by Tiffany Naugler

For all the photos from Sappyfest 2012 visit the Flickr album here:

Check out all Sappyfest Youtube playlist [here] or watch below!



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